Starring: Parker Posey, Eric Mabius, Annie Parisse, Josh Pais, Cheyenne Jackson
Distributed by: IFC Films
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Pete Cozy does his best juggling family life, rising debt and a dead end job, but when his new boss, Susan, a sexy, powerful, human dynamo shows up, Pete is pulled into the maelstrom that is her life and made to work harder than he ever has before. Suddenly, money and opportunities come his way, but at what price?
Similar to having to endure a forced visit to a family gathering, littered with a clutch of unpleasant relatives, it’s always a relief when crazy cousin Who-sis shows up. No matter how awkward the occasion, she’ll always make it worse. Which, in turn, cranks the entertainment factor up to high. Thank God for crazy cousin Who-sis.
Representing that crazy but entertaining component is Parker Posey, making the dull and disjointed Price Check just a bit more survivable. Oh, do we need her in this one.
In this supposedly amusing tale of supermarkets and super-marketing, blandly earnest protagonist Pete (Eric Mabius) works in the pricing department of a failing chain of retail grocery stores. When his immediate supervisor moves on, he’s suddenly faced with a she-devil of a boss: Parker Posey’s Susan Felders, who is unconventional, unbridled and, in all probability, unhinged. She zeroes in on Pete, grooming him to become her #2, doubling his salary while quadrupling his workload. Initially, Pete’s wife Sara (Annie Parisse) is thrilled … but when Pete is required to accompany Susan on weekend business trips, coming home with his clothes reeking from Susan’s perfume, Sara suspects the worst.
We’ve seen a much funnier and smarter version of this story in last year’s Horrible Bosses. But where the previous film examined a Peter Pan camaraderie of three best pals, all trying to survive their individual onerous workplaces, here we just get Pete, accompanied by a few meager bits of spark from a woebegone workforce akin to that of TV’s The Office.
The plot is paper thin, alluding to lost aspirations and grown-up sacrifices. It seems that Pete had to give up his dream career in the music business due to his taking on familial responsibilities, stepping up to provide for his wife and young son – and perhaps a new baby on the way. When Pete has a moral misstep, he experiences no true accountability, his disappointed wife forgiving him faster than the expiration date on a gallon of milk.
Other than Susan’s mania, the most creative component of Price Check comes from the costume department. No button-down boss, Susan dresses in after-five cocktail wear and dripping earrings on a daily basis. Insisting on attending Pete’s son’s Halloween party at his grammar school, she dons a skimpy suede Pocahontas get-up, replete with thigh-high fishnets. If only Pete had a scintilla of the personality of any of Susan’s outré outfits.
Betting dollars to donuts, the most humdrum trip to the market provides a more riveting entertainment. And upon exiting, at least we have a few bags full of groceries to show for our efforts. No such luck with Price Check, a waste of time from start to finish … with an ending that’s as limp as old lettuce.